This evergreen moss consists of dense mats of whitish green leafy stems that are up to 1 cm. tall and 5 cm. (2") or more across. The sparingly branched stems are light green above, reddish in the middle, and brown below; they are more or less erect and hairless, although brown fibrous rhizoids develop from the stems below. The leaves are arranged in a dense overlapping spiral around each stem; they are erect and appressed when they are dry, and erect and slightly spreading when they are wet. Individual leafy stems have a terete thread-like or worm-like appearance. Individual leaves are 0.5–1 mm. long, a little less across, and hairless; they are ovate to broadly ovate and toothless along their margins. The leaf bases clasp their stems, while the leaf tips are acute or bristly. The upper one-third of the leaf surface is clear-translucent above, while the lower two-thirds of the leaf surface is light green-translucent below. The inner sides of the leaves are slightly concave, while their outer sides are slightly convex. The midrib of each leaf is relatively faint and difficult to see, but it extends from the leaf base to an area that is a little short of its tip. The leaves lack distinctive hyaline (clear) margins. Along the middle to upper areas of each leaf, the leaf cells are narrowly hexagonal-elliptic in shape.